PETALING JAYA: Prices of sugar should be determined based on the global market value, similar to how petrol and diesel are set on a managed float system currently, said an NGO.

Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (PPIM) head activist Datuk Nadzim Johan (pix), in making the call, said sugar manufacturers’ demand to increase the price by a further 29 sen to ensure their profitability was absurd and did not make sense.

“It’s unreasonable (to increase the price that much). Why do they want to increase? To make life easier for them? There’s no reason to allow manufacturers to increase the price.

“The government should instead set the price based on the market value. If there are still any subsidies on sugar, remove them, and follow the market price. No one will lose then,” he said when contacted today.

The country’s leading sugar producer, MSM Malaysia Holdings Berhad, on May 15, said it was in talks with the government to increase local sugar price by a further 29 sen per kg to ensure the company’s profitability, despite an increase of 11 sen (to RM2.95 per kg) on March 1.

Federation of Malaysian Consumer Association (Fomca) secretary-general Datuk Paul Selvaraj said the call for the price hike was questionable, especially since sugar price in other markets have shown a decline or remained stagnant.

“We are wondering if there is an element of monopoly by manufacturers here. We urge the Malaysia Competition Commission (MyCC) to look into this matter to make sure sugar prices remain competitive,” he told theSun.

Meanwhile, the Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Services (Cuepacs) consumer chairman Jaapar Mansor has urged the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry (KPDNKK) to intervene and ensure sugar price do not increase.

He said the 29 sen proposed increment would have a huge impact on the prices of sugary goods, especially as Muslims here are about to welcome the fasting month.